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Mobile email security IT and Library Services

Security Update for Exchange Email on Mobile Devices

From 27th June 2017, staff and postgraduate students wishing to access their University of Greenwich Exchange email and calendars on a mobile device, will be required to have screen lock security enabled on their device (such as a PIN or passcode).

Because mobile devices can easily be lost or stolen, this update is being brought in to protect the security of University content held on mobile devices - this includes personal (non-University) devices. Simply swiping to access a device, or using pattern lock security (e.g. swiping a pattern to unlock a device) does not necessarily provide the level of security required, and this requirement, which is built into Microsoft Exchange, is designed to help ensure that University data is given a minimum level of protection when it is accessible from devices which are more prone to loss or theft.

Why do I have to use a passcode? 

All users of University IT systems are obliged to ensure the security of any corporate data they access, in line with the Data Protection Act (1998). The information contained in your work emails should be considered as 'corporate data' and appropriate measures taken to ensure their security.

This becomes especially relevant when accessing work data via a personal device and security measures such as these protect both the University and you from the negative consequences of a loss of data.

Whilst a personal mobile phone / tablet is the responsibility of the owner, even if you choose not to access University email (or other corporate services) it is highly recommended that you set a PIN on your devices - as this protects your personal data (such as photographs, email, bank account details etc.). 

For any mobile devices connecting to your University email account (Microsoft Exchange), a complex PIN is highly recommended.

A complex PIN means that you should not be use combinations such as 1111, 2222, 1234 or 4321 etc.  

What you can do now 

In order to receive your University Exchange email and calendars on your mobile devices:

If you already have a 4-digit (or longer) PIN or passcode enabled - You do not need to do anything further at this stage. 

If you do not have a 4-digit (or longer) PIN or passcode enabled - You should enable it as soon as possible.

When the update takes place

When the security update takes place, a notification will be displayed on your mobile devices warning you that security settings have been updated. If you:

  • Already use lock screen security on your device - you will be required to accept the update before you can continue to access your University Exchange email/calendars. Note - some devices will not display the notification, and will allow you to continue uninterrupted.
  • Have not set up lock screen security on your device - you will be required to accept the update and set up lock screen security (PIN, Passcode or equivalent) before you can continue to access your University Exchange email and calendars.

To set up screen lock security on your mobile device

Typically, the option to set up screen lock security will be under the 'Settings' (and on some devices under an additional 'Security' option), then under a 'Password', 'Passcode', 'Lock' or 'Screen Lock' option.

If, after the security update process, new messages are not showing in the Exchange email account on your device, you may need to delete the email account then add it again.

If I choose not to implement the 4-digit (or longer) PIN, can I still access my email?

Not easily! Until a 4-digit (or longer) PIN is setup, the usual email clients will not allow you to view new messages and calendar information. 

However, while it will be very small on a mobile device, you will still be able to access the owa.gre.ac.uk web interface.

Security passwords on Nokia phones
Some versions of Nokia phones implement the requirement for the passcode by switching on the default handset password. If you are a Nokia user but have the handset password disabled, you should make sure you know the default password before you add your University mail account. If you don't know the default password, you will need to contact your network provider to confirm it.